Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Most of my school lost power today for about five hours. The wiring of the building is a bit strange, so some rooms still had overhead lights. All the classrooms have nice big windows, so the ones without lights managed with natural light. The computers all went down and since I didn't have any classes, my work today was very computer-reliant.
It's been a long time since I've worked so many hours without a computer, or, I should say, tried to work without a computer. All the circulation work had to be written down so it could be entered into the database later, I couldn't do any cataloging or record updating, no writing, no lesson planning, no emails. While the kids who came in and out throughout the day mourned the loss of my fabulous electric pencil sharpener....clearly the best one in the whole school...I couldn't seem to come to terms with the fact that I basically couldn't do anything without my computer.
Finally I faced reality and headed off to the local bookstore to pick up some books we had ordered for a school book club. While I was there I did some aquisitions work, meaning that I browsed the adult, teen, and children's section for books on a subject --today it was football teams-- that needed expanding in my library. Sometimes I realize this lack myself when I'm searching books on a specific topic for a class or lesson and sometimes it is brought to my attention by the kids themselves. The other day some 6th graders got all excited when they spotted some books about football teams that I bought last year for the preschool collection. There's books about football but not teams in the Middle School collection, and they were so pleased to find any that they were willing to risk being embarrassed by carrying around a Preschool book, a strong sign that it was time to acquire some at their own reading level. This is my usual non-scientific approach to collection development... if they want it and I don't have it and it's appropriate, buy it. And I usual buy my non-fiction books from a bookstore rather than a vendor because it's easier to find just the right complexity of text and the right balance of text and images when I can actually browse the book myself.
I lucked out today, finding not only good books about the Ravens, the Redskins and the Giants, but some well-done and reasonably priced biographies of players as well. However, cataloging will have to wait until the computers are back up; there's no doing that by hand these days.